- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: PM Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1604860804
- ISBN-13: 978-1604860801
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 384 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability Paperback – May 1, 2009
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"[Vegetarian Myth] is one of the most important books people, masses of them, can read, as we try with all our might, intelligence, skill, hope, dream , and memory, to turn the disastrous course the planet is on." Alice Walker, prize-winning author, The Color Purple
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Having said that, this book does address many of the problems with the way that we eat and our industrialized food system as a whole. It goes over global problems of hunger, health, and nutrition, addresses why our morality may be flawed when considering whether or not to eat a plant-based diet, and discusses traditional cultures and foods and what we could learn from them. As a student concerned with environmental science, traditional ecological knowledge, and resource management, I can appreciate the way that Keith brings together these ideas and supports the notion that we should eat a biologically-appropriate, regionally-responsible diet. Some may call it a flawed argument that appeals to nature, but this is also addressed within the text, again returning to some of the very successful indigenous peoples who have historically lived in great health due to their being removed from our industrialized food systems.
I'm not giving this book four stars because I think it is perfect, because it isn't; I'm giving it four stars because I think that, for the average person seeking an introduction to our relationship with food around the world and in our modern society, it is a pleasant read with generally-acceptable arguments, despite some of their flawed sources. Of course, it could definitely be improved. Keith uses many arguments that need further support, or just plain better support from more appropriate resources. However, the book is pleasing to read, her writing style is enjoyable, and her general sentiments would be well-supported if she only used the right resources, and more of them. Being an academic, I understand the importance of using quality resources and research to support your position, but I also know that every paper, book, and article will always be biased or flawed based on the author's intentions; that's the point of creating an argument. This is expected in anything you read or hear.
Because I can acknowledge the flaws, and because I'm aware of many other resources which echo her thoughts, I am comfortable with the general takeaway of Keith's work: our current food system is not working, our health needs to be improved through changes to how we eat, and morality goes beyond what we might immediately like to see or think about. The book and writing style are enjoyable, the sentiment and presentation are good, I just wish that she'd taken more care with her research and forming her arguments.
This book is meant to critique the underpinnings of Veganism - and address whether the assertions they make about a Vegan diet being healthiest for humanity and the environment are true.
They are not.
Because of the angle - she does not spend a lot of time addressing the diet itself - because she is trying to get the reader to look at the bigger picture. She is trying to get the point across that Veganism is not a sustainable lifestyle. It depends on Plant Ag which requires the destruction of ecosystems, and the soil - which, by definition, cannot be sustained.
I think it's a very insightful book. It reminds me a lot of the Social Critique and Philosophy books I read while in college. Another similar book is Collapse by Jared Diamond.
But she stops there. And that is the problem. She doesn't extend her understanding of "Adult Knowledge" any further into her preconceived moral and political ideology. She runs off course when she starts talking about "toxic masculinity" affecting the environment . About how men use and abuse women and the environment. It becomes clear that she still can't see the whole truth. There is no such thing as toxic masculinity, just as there is no such thing as toxic femininity. Sure .... I could try to make a point proving toxic femininity exists. I could point to the feminization of the men in our society to the point where the men no longer feel the moral burning desire to protect and defend their women, their wives, their children and their country. Like the song says .... where have all the cowboys gone?? I could say the feminization of the men in our world has taken a toxic toll on our society. But I would not advocate for that point either. Because just like the choice has never been "Life or Death", the choice has never been "Male or Female". Just like there is a circle, a cycle, a symbiotic relationship in nature, there is the same in our relationship as men and women. We compliment and provide for each other in a symbiotic way. Lierre Keith asks in this book, "when will women grow tired of letting men use them for sons ...and cooking and cleaning". Gee , I don't know Lierre ... when will men grow tired of letting women use them to provide protection, provision and defense (even giving their very lives as soldiers ... a term she uses in derision) in sacrifice to the women and children of society? Huh? When is giving their life not enough? Why should men put up with it? Why should women put up with it? Because Lierre, it's a symbiotic relationship. A circle. A cycle. Men protect, provide and defend the women, and the women care for the men and raise the next generation of children. The belief in toxic masculinity is still childlike. She has yet to accept the hard truth ..... that masculinity and femininity are not an either/or choice. Masculinity is good .... very good. Femininity is good ...very good. This understanding is politically incorrect but it's the truth. It is understanding and wisdom. And it's desperately needed right now. When we value each other's differences, and celebrate our unique strengths and the perfect harmony of the give-and-take of everything in life, we grow not just in our personal wisdom, but we expand the peace, love and understanding in our hearts.